Naomi Soman
Naomi Soman

May 23. 2 mins

Come Shellebrate World Turtle Day With Us!

Franklin, the Ninja Turtles, the tortoise from the tortoise and the hare…what in the world would we do without our favorite storybook reptiles? Today, we’re honoring these beautiful creatures with World Turtle Day!

Photo by Shawn Jackson

What is World Turtle Day?

Photo by Shawn JohnsonHaving roamed the Earth for more than 200 million years, turtles are one of the world’s oldest known animals. However, they’re quickly disappearing. Thanks to global warming, the exotic food trade, cruel pet business, smuggling, and habitat destruction, these marvelous animals may not be here for very much longer if we don’t take action.
The American Tortoise Rescue (ATR) created World Turtle Day to spread awareness about the perilous state of turtles and tortoises around the globe. May 23rd is officially World Turtle Day, and this year, May 23rd of 2018, will be the 18th annual celebration.

What is the American Tortoise Rescue?

The American Tortoise Rescue is a nonprofit organization founded originally in 1990 by Susan Tellem and Marshall Thompson. In the past few decades, the society has placed nearly 4,000 turtles and tortoises in loving homes and has cared for those too ill to go elsewhere. The team also advises law enforcement agencies in the event that they confiscate endangered or undersized turtles.

Through these efforts, the ATR hopes to prevent the slaughter of turtles and tortoises on the black market, stop the sale of these wild reptiles on Craigslist, and control the international trade particularly of certain endangered species.

How Can I Celebrate World Turtle Day?

If you want to celebrate World Turtle Day with the ATR, make sure to download their activity pack for free by clicking here.

You can also read their blog at https://www.worldturtleday.org/blog or visit them on their Facebook page “World Turtle Day,” where 25,000+ fans are competing in photo and baking contests to celebrate the occasion. (Shellfies, anyone?) You can also follow them on Twitter at @WorldTurtleDay. Then spread the news to your friends with the hashtag #worldturtleday to let everyone know about how special these reptiles are.

Photo by Shawn Jackson

If you want to help the ATR in their conservation efforts, you can follow these six tips:

  • Don’t Adopt: Avoid adopting turtles and tortoises from pet shops. Your purchase helps fuel demand. Plus, even if they look cute as babies, pet store owners often don’t warn customers that certain breeds, like the sulcata tortoises, grow to over 100 pounds and need constant heating to prevent them from hibernating.
  • Don’t Turn it Around: If you happen to see a turtle crossing a busy street, pick it up and set it on the opposite side of the road. If you try to send them back, these stubborn creatures will simply turn around and continue in the same direction.
  • Report Cruelty: Report the use of turtles and tortoises as carnival prizes to your local animal shelter. The sale and distribution of these animals is illegal in the United States.
  • Don’t Save Them: Never ever rescue a turtle from the wild unless it’s actually hurt or sick.
  • Write to Your Legislator: Contact your local representative to ask him or her to vote against offshore drilling and protect nature reserves and national parks where turtles live.

We hope you’re getting ready to shellebrate with us!

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